If you’ve followed the latest marketing trends, you’ve likely noticed the shifting dynamics in how educational institutions implement their inbound strategies. As you might suspect, these changes are driven by a need to connect meaningfully with potential students and generate high-quality leads in an increasingly competitive space. Interactive content has risen as a critical strategy in response to this demand, rapidly gaining traction among schools worldwide. Its adoption underscores a focus on enhancing engagement and increasing lead generation, demonstrating its effectiveness in educational marketing.
But why is interactive content important? In the digital age, where information overload is common, interactive content cuts through the noise, engaging potential students in a more meaningful and memorable way. It transforms passive viewers into active participants, fostering a deeper connection with the content. This game-changing approach to inbound marketing is undoubtedly here to stay, making now the perfect time for your school to embrace and get started. By jumping into this trend, you can capture your audience’s attention and create immersive experiences that resonate deeply with them, significantly enhancing your inbound marketing efforts. Keep reading to learn more about interactive content marketing.
What is Interactive Content?
Interactive content refers to digital material designed for active participation and engagement from your audience. Unlike other forms of content, it requires user interaction, such as clicking, answering questions, or making choices. This type of content, which can include quizzes, polls, interactive infographics, and videos, offers a more dynamic and engaging experience, often leading to higher user involvement and better retention of the information presented.
For example, Schools worldwide, like Discovery Community College, offer career readiness quizzes, tuition fee calculators, and interactive virtual tours to boost engagement and generate more leads.
Source: Discovery Community College
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Interactive content can offer numerous benefits to schools. Once you begin creating and sharing this type of content, you’ll likely see an uptick in engagement rates, leading to higher conversion rates and enhanced brand awareness. Additionally, interactive content can improve the experience of your website and social media visitors by making these platforms more engaging, user-friendly, and informative, thus increasing visitor retention and interaction rates.
Adopting this approach will not only help you elevate the appeal of the content you share. Still, it can also help you gather insights into your audience’s preferences and better understand the types of content that resonate most with your audience. This data can then be strategically used to refine and tailor your future content, ensuring it aligns more closely with the interests and needs of your audience.
Finally, this approach can have a positive impact on your SEO. Increased engagement signals to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant, thus improving your visibility in search results. By boosting your inbound marketing strategy, interactive content will ultimately help you attract more qualified leads, ensuring that those visiting your site are more likely to be genuinely interested in your school’s offerings.
1. Engage Prospective Students With Quizzes and Polls
When asked, “Does interactive content increase engagement?” Interactive content has proven to be a powerful tool in capturing audience attention and fostering deeper engagement. In educational marketing, quizzes and polls are among the most compelling interactive tools to engage with students.
These tools are not new in the marketing world, but their application and relevance have evolved significantly over time, especially with the advent of interactive content marketing. These tools have been used in various forms for decades, primarily in traditional media like magazines and television. However, quizzes and polls have taken on a new life in the digital age.
Today’s digital quizzes and polls are sophisticated tools that capture detailed user data, provide immediate feedback, and integrate seamlessly with other digital marketing strategies. This modern iteration is more dynamic and engaging, offering a level of interactivity that was impossible in traditional formats. Although quizzes and polls can be featured on your school landing pages, they are more used on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to increase engagement.
Example: Social media platforms, including Instagram, offer various interactive tools, such as polls, quizzes, and question boxes. Institutions like Samuel Merritt University use these features to enhance their engagement levels.
Source: Samuel Merritt University
Pro tip: The quizzes and polls your school selects should align with your specific goals. Whether you aim to guide students through career options or create more lighthearted, fun quizzes, each type uniquely informs your audience.
For schools, interactive quizzes and polls have become powerful tools for connecting with potential students. They establish a dynamic two-way communication channel, an element crucially absent in traditional marketing methods. Unlike other forms of content, quizzes, and polls actively involve prospects, making them feel seen and heard. This can lead to a stronger connection with the content and, by extension, your institution. For example, institutions such as Medix College utilize Instagram stories to gain valuable insights into their students’ preferences, leveraging the platform’s interactive capabilities to understand their audience better.
Source: Medix College
2. Make Things Visual With Infographics and Interactive Maps
The following tools on our list are increasingly becoming indispensable to create interactive content. It is not a secret that visual storytelling has immense influence in today’s digital landscape. When it comes to captivating the attention of the digital-native generation, who are accustomed to and expect engaging visual experiences, interactive infographics, and maps play a pivotal role. These tools transform traditional data and geographical information into immersive, interactive experiences.
By integrating these elements, schools can present complex information in an accessible and engaging way, creating compelling visual narratives and making learning and exploration more dynamic and appealing to a generation that values visual and interactive content.
Whether you create still or interactive infographics, these cool can vividly showcase your school’s programs, highlight notable achievements, or tell inspiring stories of alumni success. Still, infographics are static visual representations of data or information designed for viewing as a single image. In contrast, interactive infographics engage users through elements like clickable links, hover-over effects, or dynamic data updates, allowing for a more immersive and personalized exploration of the content.
Example: This dynamic infographic from Harvard’s Center for International Development provides an interactive view of the global economic landscape across various countries.
A compelling infographic typically combines vital elements to convey information visually and engagingly. These include clear and concise data or statistics, compelling visuals like charts, graphs, and icons, and a well-structured layout that guides the viewer’s eye through the content. Color schemes and typography are also crucial and should be aligned with your school’s branding guidelines. Additionally, a narrative or story woven through the infographic helps make the data relatable and easier to understand.
Integrating interactive maps for virtual campus tours presents an innovative way to engage prospective students. These maps can offer a rich, immersive experience, allowing users to explore campus facilities, learn about different departments, and even attend virtual events from their homes. This approach bridges the physical distance for those unable to visit in person. It provides a dynamic and interactive way to experience the campus environment, further enhancing the appeal and accessibility of the school’s offerings.
Example: Some schools, like North American Trades Schools, have started offering virtual tours to help out-of-province and international students understand their facilities.
Source: North American Trades Schools
3. Create Interactive Videos and Webinars
Over the past year, video content has become integral to any inbound marketing strategy. Educational institutions can create engaging and informative video content to tap into this trend. For instance, showcasing student life through day-in-the-life videos can provide an authentic glimpse into the campus experience. At the same time, interviews with faculty can highlight academic rigor and expertise.
Some interactive content examples can be seen on the social media accounts of the University of Amsterdam, where multiple videos about student life are shared and edited with the platforms’ affordances in mind.
Source: University of Amsterdam
Webinars have also emerged as highly effective interactive platforms, offering real-time Q&A sessions where prospective students can engage directly with faculty and current students. This interactive element makes the content more engaging and builds a sense of community and connection, allowing students to gain deeper insights and personalized information about the school, its culture, and its offerings. Schools can offer admissions webinars, FAQs, or program-specific webinars to boost engagement and contribute to their recruitment efforts.
4. Make Your Landing Pages Interactive by Including Calculators and Chatbots
If your school is trying to create interactive web content, calculators and chatbots should be among the first tools to consider. These features enhance user engagement and provide valuable information and assistance in real-time. Tuition fee calculators, such as the one provided by LaSalle College in the example below, are very useful in helping prospective students and their families estimate tuition costs, fees, and other school-related expenses. This transparency aids in financial planning and can increase the likelihood of application submissions.
Source: LaSalle College
Pro tips: Student management tools like HEM’s Student Portal offer schools and educational institutions an easy way to create customized quote builders. This tool can help prospective students customize and plan their study sessions until they determine what works best with their goals and budget.
Chatbots are also essential tools, as they provide immediate answers to common queries, making it easier for prospective students to find the information they need at any time. This constant availability is particularly beneficial for international students in different time zones. Chatbots can also be programmed to collect information from visitors, such as contact details and specific interests, which can be used for targeted follow-up and marketing efforts.
A school chatbot should offer instant, personalized responses to various inquiries, from admissions procedures and program details to campus life and event information. It should be capable of guiding users through the website, answering frequently asked questions, and even scheduling appointments or tours.